What makes a great manager?

John Giles spoke to Off The Ball on Friday night discussing the effect a manager can have on a team

BY Cian Roche 21:47 Friday 18 March 2016, 21:47 18 Mar 2016

A manager's worth is traditionally measured by the number of trophies they have won or how successful they have been over the course of their career.

According to Michael Calvin, author of Living on the Volcano: The Secrets of Surviving as a Football Manager, the average lifespan of a manager in the English Championship is eight months.

It goes without saying that the pressure facing managers to succeed instantly has grown massively in the last decade and even some of the most decorated managers in world football are feeling the pressure.

Take Louis van Gaal for instance.

"He change his team so much it's hard to know what his best team is" said John Giles after last night's 1-1 draw with Liverpool which saw them crash out of the Europa League.

"When you look at a manager like van Gaal, who's been there for 18 months, we should have some pattern or proof of what he's trying to do at the club."

The Dutch coach has been heavily criticised for his performance as Manchester United manager and the brand of football they've played since buying into the former Barcelona coach's philosophy.

"Every time I watch United, it's like they're starting from scratch again. With Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp you can tell most of the time what he's trying to do. He might not always have the players to do it, but at least he's trying to do something that is his philosophy.

Jurgen Klopp (left) and Louis van Gaal faced off on Thursday night in the Europa League. Image: Martin Rickett / PA Wire/Press Association Images

"I never see that with van Gaal. It's four changes this week, five changes next week... It just changes all the time... And then what happens is the players lose confidence in the manager and don't buy into the system."

The former Leeds players explained that to be an effective manager you don't need to reinvent the wheel.

"What the great managers do is they reduce it to simplicity. There's no big great tactic that you pull out of the sky. It's about good players, organising them and allowing them to play.

When asked what Jimmy Armfield was like as a manager he replied: "No comment... Well I didn't get on very well with him and moved straight away after the Champions League final."



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